About the ‘privatisation’ of Channel 4

So I hear the Conservative Party (aka ‘Tories’) want to privatise Channel 4.

Ostensibly it’s about future investment and economic sustainability… sounds very woolly to me.

More realistically it’s probably a politically-motivated ‘punishment’ for C4 in how aggressively it has been in its opposition to the government. Basically, it’s saying “cross us, and we will cut off your support”.

I’m not in favour of it. Why? There’s not sufficient justification for it. But, I’m also not overly against it. For the same reason: there’s not sufficient reason to oppose it. My main reason for opposing it is that I prefer publicly owned assets stay public, unless there was significant reason to change it, for example if it’s haemorrhaging public funds. So mainly my position is ideological, albeit rather weakly.

 I find it odd why a ‘conservative’ government would want to do this…  Though the Tories have a track record of privatisation (so did Labour when they were in government, but that’s another story), there’s nothing intrinsically conservative about privatising public assets. A truly conservative position would be to just maintain the status quo.

An ideology of liberalism, on the other hand, would favour liberalising companies from government control. So privatising Channel 4 would actually be a ‘liberal’ move.

The curious thing I find, is that the self-identified ‘liberals’ are the ones who are most outspoken against this move. The reasons I’ve seen revolve around editorial neutrality and the support of independent content producers that Channel 4 currently engages in. Here are a few more things that are odd…

  1. It is not a given that either editorial neutrality or support of independent content will disappear. A privatised C4 may still be bound by a charter to maintain its current public remit, and OfCom will also have the regulatory powers to enforce such a remit (regardless of whether or not such a  remit is in the charter).
  2. It is also surely more liberal for a broadcaster to not be bound by a government-created public remit? In a liberal market, independent content producers will attract broadcaster funding if they produce quality content that attracts viewers.

What does this all mean? Nothing good:

  1. Self-identified ‘liberals’ don’t know what liberalism is.
  2. The ‘Conservative’ party is not ideologically bound to conservatism.
  3. Political positions are not being taken on the basis of ideas, but about sectarian tribalism. Ie “as a leftie, I will oppose everything the Tories say or do”
  4. As these politics encroaches into more and more of society, people are becoming more partisan and hateful to those who disagree with them.

It’s a sorry sight to behold. I hope anyone reading this will take a look at themselves and the direction of society.

The golden rule is oft-said “do unto others what you would have them do unto you”. But Christ taught us: “Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”


Author: Hoong-Wai

I am a sinner. I care about people, and truth, and justice. I have an interest in dancing, economics, engineering, philosophy, and science.

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